Thursday, July 9, 2009

Chipping Campden in the Cotswalds

I arrived at Ray and Trisha's place on Tuesday evening, and we had intended to visit Chipping Campden yesterday, but a showery day and my tiredness combined to delay our trip until today. After two weeks of poor sleep, I slept nine hours Tuesday night, and another eight hours last night. So yesterday we just chilled out, and popped around to see the grandchildren and their parents last night.

Chipping Campden is only 20 miles from Banbury, but off a main road, so Ray and Trish had never been there. Like me, they were very pleasantly surprised. It attracts a great many visitors, even on a weekday, to see the grand village buildings made of Cotswald stone and the various arts and crafts created and sold there.

In 1902, Charles Robert Ashbee (CRA), who married Nevill Forbes' sister Janet, moved to Chipping Campden with many skilled craftsmen who were members of the Arts and Crafts Guild, and established quite a community of craftsmen and women. It was however a poor business decision and five years later it was closed down. However, individual craftsmen stayed and others were attracted to the village. Today there is a museum of crafts and design called Court Barn, and it is there that CRA's work is displayed along with the work of many other artisans.

Last month, an exhibition of Felicity Ashbee's multi-facetted life was held, and Olivia, Felicity's niece, obtained a catalogue for me. The former curator showed me Felicity's desk, wh'ich was awaiting collection by her relatives. Felicity was Charles and Janet Ashbee's daughter, a prolific writer, artist, teacher and community activist who passed away a year ago at the age of 95.
We wandered around the village taking photographs of the houses, shops and the almshouse, which you can see on the latest web album linked to this blog.

Tomorrow I will go back to Horsham by train - a three hour journey, which won't be a chore - the trains are a quite pleasant way to travel. I booked ahead, thus saving a considerable amount. I'm really enjoying my stay with Ray and Trish, it is very relaxing and we always have lots to talk about, remembering Philip and digging into our memories about our Reed ancestors. Ray's grandmother Alice and my grandmother Edith Annie were two of the six Reed sisters of Southampton.

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